‘THE ROYAL TRAIN’ (TV)
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This is another one of my favourite episodes from the ‘Dad’s Army’ TV series. The platoon is ordered to provide the guard of honour at Walmington-on-Sea’s railway station. It transpires King George VI is travelling by train past Walmington station. It goes pear-shaped when the Snettleford stopping train stops by.
I enjoyed the energy and the pace of this episode as the ‘Dad’s Army’ team actually get to ride on a steam-train. They have to move it out of the way from Walmington station in order for the king’s train to come past. But they soon discover the steam brake wheel is missing and can’t stop the train.
I like how Pike gets to drive the train, since he knows how to do it from going to a boy school’s expedition. He gets no thanks for it as Mainwaring gets annoyed that he can’t stop the train without the brake wheel. Mainwaring and Jones make their way to the back of the train to get it from Mr. Hodges.
Bill Pertwee guest stars as Hodges; Frank Williams guest stars as the Vicar; Edward Sinclair guest stars as the Verger and Fred McNaughton guest stars as the Mayor. All four try to get a look at the king. There’s also William Moore as the Station Master and Sue Bishop as the Ticker Collector in this.
There’s also Freddie Earlle as Henry and Ronnie Brody as Bob, the train driver and the fireman who stop by at Walmington-on-Sea with the Snettleford stopping train to complain about the engine’s circular brake wheel. It was very funny that our ‘Dad’s Army’ characters find them asleep after having sleeping tablets.
This was caused once Mainwaring bought sleeping tablets for his wife. But Pike accidentally knocked and smashed the bottle over. Mainwaring pus the sleeping tablets into a saccharine bottle and the train driver and the fireman mistake them for saccharine. Hence why they fell asleep in this episode!
I enjoyed it when the ‘Dad’s Army’ team do some drill practice for providing the guard of honour at the railway platform. They have two versions for it – the slow present and the quick present. The quick present is very funny as the platoon do ‘present arms’ very quickly and it’s not very good at all.
‘The Royal Train’ is definitely a favourite for me. I love steam trains and I love the pace of this episode when the ‘Dad’s Army’ team are on the train. It was funny when Pike puts the train into reverse to try and stop it. Instead it goes backwards. 😀 I want a steam train ride after watching this! 🙂
‘The Royal Train’ (TV) rating – 10/10
‘THE ROYAL TRAIN’ (AUDIO)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
‘The Royal Train’ is the fifteenth episode in Series 3 of the ‘Dad’s Army’ radio series. I first heard this one on one of ‘The Very Best Episodes’ CDs of ‘Dad’s Army’. I really enjoyed it! I found the radio adaptation of ‘The Royal Train’ to be pretty good, despite the changes made adapting from TV in radio.
Larry Martyn once again plays Private Walker in the radio version of ‘The Royal Train’. I found some of Walker’s lines very amusing, especially when he and the ‘Dad’s Army’ team are on the Snettleford stopping train pulling into the sidings at Walmington. That “Stand by to let go anchor!” line was funny.
The radio episode also features Bill Pertwee as Chief Warden Hodges and Frank Williams as the Vicar, who reprise their roles from the TV version. The Verger and the Mayor don’t appear in the radio version as in the TV version, although there is the possibility the unspoken Bickerstaff could be the mayor.
Interestingly, the Vicar and Chief Warden Hodges seem to be chasing the ‘Dad’s Army’ team on foot rather than use a hand powered truck as in the TV version. I initially thought they were using the hand-powered truck in the radio version. The train can’t have been going so fast with them running on foot. 😀
The episode also features Stuart Sherwin as the Station Master instead of William Moore as in the TV version. Stuart Sherwin usually plays one of Hodges’ ARP wardens in the TV series. I was surprised it was Stuart Sherwin as the Station Master. He doesn’t sound like him compared to playing an ARP warden.
With that said mind, I found the Station Master to be more nervous and mild-mannered in the radio version compared to the one in the TV version. The one in the TV version was more abrupt and forthright. Here in the radio version, he usually ends his sentences with “Oh dear!” and being worried.
The Station Master also doesn’t have a female Ticket Collector in the radio version as played by Sue Bishop in the TV version. In the radio version, Fraser Kerr plays Henry the train driver instead of Freddie Earlle and Michael Middleton plays Bob the fireman…or the driver’s mate 😀 …instead of Ronnie Brody.
The radio episode ends rather differently compared to the TV version. At the end, the Station Master tells Mainwaring that the King changed his mind and decided to go by air instead by train. Pike also volunteers to pilot the plane himself once the pilot is out of action. But Mainwaring refuses to allow him.
‘The Royal Train’ (Audio) rating – 9/10
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